Taped from Albany, GA (Taped? Oh yeah…NBA playoffs…bye-bye ratings win.)

Airdate: April 29, 1996 (taped 4/22)

Attendance: 8,040 (6,381 paid)

Hosted by Eric Bischoff, Bobby “The Brain” Heenan, and Steve “Mongo” McMichael

Opening montage.

Match 1 for the WCW World tag team titles: The “Total Package” Lex Luger & Sting (champions) versus Harlem Heat


Rating: ***1/2

Summary: While Harlem Heat didn’t get humiliated by a towel loss, Hart outsmarted them with distraction costing them the title.

The replay is sponsored by The Great White Hype.

Match 2: The Steiners versus Fire & Ice


Rating: **

Summary: High-impact wrestling at its finest. Unfortunately, in my opinion, Fire & Ice were not on the same level as the Steiners. They need to be built up on Worldwide and WCW Saturday Night before being taken seriously.

At the entrance, “Mean” Gene Okerlund misuses the term literally again before interviewing the 13-time World Champion Flair. Woman and Elizabeth join the champ. Simultaneously, Flair runs down both the Giant and Savage albeit subtly. Flair asks both women who the man is, and they both say Flair.

Promo for…what is this? A movie premiere? Blood runs cold?

Ad for the WCW Magazine.

Match 3 (parking lot brawl): Lord Steven Regal versus the Belfast Bruiser


Rating: ***

Summary: As a match it was OK. As a brawl, it was awesome.

After the match, the Bruiser tossed the bumper at the driver’s side window of the subcompact and shattered it too. Heenan’s last line of the segment: “That’s my (rental) car!” D’oh!

Match 4 for the WCW World title: “Nature Boy” Ric Flair (champion w/ Woman and Elizabeth) versus the Giant (w/ Jimmy Hart)


Rating: ***

Summary: Flair is one of the few wrestlers out there who could get *** out of the Giant.

After the match, Hart leaps into the Giant’s arms then runs a victory lap within the ring. Okerlund enters the ring to interview the new champion.

To close the show, Eric mentions that the Giant will now defend the WCW World title against Sting at Slamboree. Gee, I’m glad that match was already booked.

Conclusion: For a 7pm Nitro, this was a great wrestling show. The fact that it was not in the same timeslot as RAW and they gave us this good of a show astounds me. Next week’s show is also a 7pm Nitro, so let’s hope it’s just as good. What’s on RAW?

TV Rating: 2.10

WWF Monday Night RAW

Live from Sioux City, IA

Airdate: April 29, 1996

Attendance: 4,000 (3,200 paid)

Hosted by Vince McMahon and Jerry “The King” Lawler

From IYH last night, Davey Boy Smith yelled at Dok Hendrix and Gorilla Monsoon about Shawn Michaels wanting to sleep with his wife, Diana and stated: “I can’t wait for (May) 26th.” He tried to interrupt Michaels in his post-win celebration, but WWF officials stopped him.

Opening montage.

Prior to the first match, we see highlights of what Mankind did to the Undertaker last month.

Match 1: Mankind versus Bart Gunn


Rating: **

Summary: While the outcome was never in doubt, Bart Gunn did well for himself in defeat.

After the match, the soothing music calms the savage Mankind.

Backstage, Jim Ross tries to interview a worn down Bart Gunn. Suddenly Mankind attacks him again and reapplies the Mandible claw.

Savio Vega joins the broadcast team to perform color commentary on the next match. He makes a public challenge to Austin to a Caribbean strap match.

We revisit Savio’s loss in the Intercontinental title match last week thanks to Austin.

Match 2: Stone Cold Steve Austin (w/ the “Million Dollar Man” Ted DiBiase) versus Scott Taylor


Rating: DUD

Summary: Showcase match for Austin.

After the match, Vega grabbed the house microphone and challenges Austin for the strap match at the PPV. After Austin declines the offer, Vega jumps in the ring and whips Austin with the strap.

RAW is sponsored by M&Ms.

In the ring Vince interviews the “British Bulldog” Davey Boy Smith with his wife Diana and Jim Cornette. Vince then introduces Shawn Michaels like he was the Second Coming. Jose Lothario joins HBK. Emphatically, Michaels touts his latest accomplishments including last night’s victory. Abruptly Cornette interrupts Michaels, calls him a pervert, and states that Michaels wants to sleep with Diana Smith. Cornette asks Diana to confront Michaels and refers to him as a “fornicator.” Diana tells Michaels that she knows that he wants her. Michaels refutes that statement. Subsequently, she slaps the taste out of his mouth. Before the segment ends, Michaels drops the bomb with “I guess we know who wears the pants in the Smith family.” Yikes! A pull-apart brawl between Smith and Michaels ensues.

Next week on RAW “Wildman” Marc Mero faces the 1-2-3 Kid. Also, the Undertaker will square off against Owen with Goldust on color commentary.

Match 3: The Godwinns (w/ Hillbilly Jim) versus the New Rockers


Rating: *

Summary: That star was solely for Sunny. The rest of the match was mistimed and terrible.

In a dark corner of the arena, Jim Ross interviews Mankind who describes the effect of his finishing hold.

Match 4: Ultimate Warrior versus Isaac Yankem (w/ Jerry Lawler)


Rating: DUD

Summary: Showcase match for Warrior.

After the match, Warrior tosses Yankem over the top rope to the floor again. Lawler is not impressed.

Conclusion: RAW, with no competition, didn’t display everything they could have with this show. While they did set the table for the PPV with Michaels-Smith and Austin-Vega, the matches minus Mankind/Gunn were awful. With Nitro shuffled to 7pm EST again next week, I hope RAW won’t be this poor again.

TV Rating: 3.90

Who won? While not head-to-head, RAW dominated Nitro probably because people were accustomed to watching wrestling at 9pm rather than 7pm. With that being said, Nitro was the better program. I wonder what happens next week.

Stay tuned for week 35 of the Monday Night War!

Comments? Suggestions? Send them to me at rsg@rockstargary.com and follow me on Twitter (@rockstargary202).

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